Leander Ethics Commission dismisses complaint against councilman

The Leander Ethics Commission dismissed charges against Councilman Jason Dishongh that alleged he missed paperwork filing deadlines while acting as treasurer of a political action committee.

After almost an hour in private discussion at a May 29 hearing, the commission ruled it had no jurisdiction in the matter.

"Because of the wording in the ordinance, it is clear that we do not have jurisdiction when other laws and bodies apply," Commission Chairman Richard Shirley said.

In a complaint to the commission filed April 29, former Leander volunteer firefighter Braden Frame accused Dishongh of missing a campaign finance report filing deadline for the PAC Leander Taxpayers for Responsible Government. Dishongh admitted to missing the deadline, but said during a May 14 preliminary hearing that he was acting as a private citizen and not a council member in his service on the PAC.

Commissioner Steven Kovacs made the motion to dismiss the complaint, which cites section 3.36bi of the Leander Ethics Ordinance.

"We lack jurisdiction as an ethics commission, and we should vote this down," he said.

The dismissal was the second ruling of its kind from the commission regarding complaints from Frame against Dishongh. On May 14, the commission dismissed a complaint against the councilman for accepting personal gifts. A third complaint filed in April alleged Dishongh accepted contributions prior to becoming treasurer. That complaint was withdrawn by Frame.

Frame said he respects the commission's interpretation of the law.

"I'm going to have to look at what the commission had to say, and I certainly will consider perhaps a different avenue to refile my complaint," he said. The Texas Ethics Commission is currently investigating similar complaints filed by Frame against Dishongh.

When the meeting adjourned, more than a dozen supporters of Dishongh cheered. The councilman declined comment.



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